social distancing is the lay of the land now, but i’ve been well acquainted with the practice for the last eight years. friends don’t stick around when you have a baby, or perhaps it’s friends don’t stick around when you have a baby and you’re a teenager, or perhaps i just picked really bad friends. i’m lucky if i meet someone who isn’t my husband or my son for a cup of coffee or for lunch, or to attend a show or to see a film, more than once every month or so. now, this isn’t me whining about it. i like my time alone. i like my meetings with friends not to be too regular of an occurrence. it gives me space to breathe, to recharge, and it makes the times we do get together all the more special. it’s called being an introvert. look it up.
things i’ve been doing. homeschooling. colouring. crosswording. talking to my husband. drinking tea. making lists. taking cbd. eating arugula. eating kale. buying in bulk. virtually yelling at people who are putting their fun above the literal lives of others. considering how bad it would be if i tried trimming my own hair. lifting weights. sweating. stretching. drinking more tea. not drinking coffee. not watching as many shows as usual. trying to read the mountain of novels i purchased earlier in the year, but being unable to focus on anything not pertaining to the virus. storing bed warmers and switching to summer sheets. turning on ceiling fans. listening to vulfpeck. watching my new baggu bag collect dust. facetiming my parents. opening airbnb just to be sad about the annual national park trip we will almost certainly have to cancel. cooking. rationing. making granola bars. wanting ice cream but not buying ice cream because it would require a nonessential trip to the store and funds that aren’t guaranteed to be there tomorrow or the next day and because i’m currently playing the role of The World’s Most Responsible Adult.
wishing i would’ve catalogued my records months ago when i first had the idea, so i’d have less of them taking up space in here, and more money tucked away in the bank. wishing aaron would’ve catalogued his comics for the very same reason. daydreaming of swimming. smelling sunscreen. listening to birds. petting cats. hugging liam. people watching to see whether or not passersby are adhering to the new 6 foot rule. planning which local restaurants we’ll visit first as soon as things go back to normal, or find a new normal. washing my hair once a week. not ever putting on mascara. not ever having to wash off mascara. crocheting. watching lord of the rings. quoting lord of the rings. opening windows. watering plants. breathing. being.
dusting shelves. organising the kitchen. drinking ginger ale. baking bread. thinking of baking cakes. texting friends. subscribing to the new york times. making a playlist of songs that remind me of sunshine or summer drives or whatever it is that’s supposed to make us happy, as we’re all cooped up for the foreseeable future, that you can find here. dancing. wobbling on liam’s wobbel board. wanting to watch a play. not shopping online. not shopping at all, really. saving. assembling puzzles. playing board games on the ground. waking up early. falling back asleep until noon. not doing laundry. burning incense. sitting in the sun. making a movie jar. watching wes anderson. wondering if ren fest will be canceled. wishing i hadn’t already watched the great british bake off in its entirety. wishing i had a vincent van gogh paint by numbers.
something i haven’t been doing is going outside. never had any complaints about living in the city before now. loved every bit of it. but there are no wide open areas, no grass, no trees, to run around in and climb on. as we have already established, i’m used to a fairly solitary existence. being “stuck” at home with my husband and my son (and our cats), and having no one over, or going nowhere without them, is my norm. for me, the social distancing we’ve all been asked to take part in is a piece of cake. i’m ok staying in for days (or weeks) at a time. but we’re also a one car family, and for at least today, aaron still has his job, so we really are stuck. i’d love to have a safe little space outside, a yard, away from others to kick a ball around in with liam, or have a picnic, or just watch the clouds roll by. but that’s not a possibility for us, not right now. and i’m mourning the loss of that, and i’m trying to cope with the realisation that in a matter of days or even hours, there will be no income coming in, and that is not a reality we had ever thought to prepare for.
i’m doing ok, all things considered. i’ve only cried once. it has helped for me to reflect on the fact that as sad as it is not knowing when we’ll have the chance to be out in nature again, and as scary as it is not knowing whether or not we’ll have money for food or for rent, it is nothing compared to the struggles of others throughout the world, and throughout time. i’m not sat at home wondering when and where the next bomb will drop, i’m not risking my life and the lives of my husband and son crossing a sea to flee a war. i’m being asked to put on hold the things i want. i’m being asked to put others before myself. something we should all be doing anyway, whether we’re in the midst of a global pandemic or not. but just because this is something that needs doing doesn’t mean we have to pretend all the rapid changes and inevitable uncertainties of this wholly unnerving and unprecedented time don’t make us sad or scared. it is sad, and it is scary, and we should feel however we feel, without guilt and without shame. but no matter how we feel, we do have to push through. we do have to keep going. this is a problem that requires all of us to join together (6 feet apart) in order to reach the solution. sitting out isn’t an option (if you have a heart).
see you on the other side of this soon, i hope.